Tag Archives: manager

Think you’re smarter than your boss?

Awhile back, Amy Gallo wrote in the Harvard Business Review about What to Do If You’re Smarter than Your Boss. I recommend Amy’s article because it’s really about what to do if you think you’re smarter than your boss.

There were two instances in which I thought I was smarter than my boss. Both times, it turned out I was wrong.

Walt: the rustic

Walt (not his real name) was a born-and-bred Southerner, with an easygoing style a and an accent straight out of Mayberry. Still in my twenties, having just moved to North Carolina from “up north,” I quickly pegged him as a rustic.

Walt managed another team at first, but in time I was moved over to his team. I actually thought that while he was nominally the boss, I could pretty much handle things as I saw fit and he’d never be the wiser. (I was a cocky young pup, wasn’t I?)

Once I began working for Walt, and I was able to see him close-up, things changed. Continue reading

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Who do you pick for the project?

You joined the team a few months ago as its manager. Now a challenging new project is on the horizon, and you have to decide which team member gets the assignment. Who do you pick?

People in an officeRoy has been part of the team for years. The previous manager told you that he struggled in the past. But since you’ve been here, it’s as if a light went on: Roy’s work has been top-notch. Is Roy past his struggles and up to a challenging new assignment?

Bill goes through his workday with a swagger. He’ll tell you that he can handle anything you throw at him. And so far he has, although you haven’t asked him to do anything that was particularly hard. Is Bill just a braggart, or do you trust him to walk the talk?

Melanie’s work has always been good but not outstanding. A few months ago, when Melanie’s project encountered some unexpected bumps — not of her making — she surmounted the problems and delivered a great outcome. Was it a fluke, or is Melanie ready to rise to the occasion again?

Connie is the youngest member of the team, eager to learn and willing to do things in new ways. She’s already suggested some innovations that have paid off. Can Connie’s energy and new ideas overcome her lack of experience?

My take: don’t rely too much on the past, especially on things you’ve heard but haven’t observed firsthand. Instead, align your people’s current abilities with current and future needs.

Logo for Major League Baseball postseasonThe people in this story are fictitious, but I didn’t just make them up. They represent the personalities of the four teams that remain in this year’s major-league baseball playoffs: the Royals, Blue Jays, Mets, and Cubs, respectively.

When you watch baseball, or any sport, you learn that players and teams change and grow. As a manager you should acknowledge that growth: judge your people on who they are today rather than basing your expectations on who they used to be.

So….Who gets assigned to the new project? Why would you pick that person?

Who would I assign to the project? Ask me after the World Series.